Reaching 90 in 2020

13 Nov

Reaching 90 in 2020

A year darkly memorable

                        Months before the pandemic

                                    Before George Floyd’s martyrdom

Trump stalking the ramparts

                        Issuing cowardly murder decrees

                                    While I mourn each monstrous death 

Among the vultures

                        The bodies started piling up soon after

                                    The new year’s welcoming bells

Three days later

                        All iran mourned Qasem Soleimani’s death

Murdered by drone—his crime: seeking peace

A toxic reckoning an omen 

                        From a toxic White House

                                    The start of this toxic time

And yet 

            Breathing clean air 

                        In Yalikavak 

                                    Inhaling the love         

                                                Of those I love and cherish

Makes me believe

                        Being alive being not alone at 90

                                    Is sacred a dwelling

                                                Among now reticent gods

True darkness descends         

                        Midday on earth

                                    For iconic deaths

Angels are weeping

                        For children for lost love

                                    For Soleimani for Floyd

For magnificent animals

                        Plundered for fun for gain

                                    Imprisoned as jungles empty

True lords of our earth

            While whales wander with wonder

                        Dethroned sovereigns of the seas 

At 90 amid the joy of being

                        A judgment haunts me

                                    Reached by a black woman poet

                                                ‘We were never meant to survive.’

Yalikavak, Turkey

November 13, 2030

13 Responses to “Reaching 90 in 2020”

  1. myintzan November 13, 2020 at 5:02 am #

    Congratulations and happy birthday and many more happier ones to come. I think you meant ’13 November 2020′. 🙂

  2. Claudia November 13, 2020 at 5:51 am #

    I wish you a much better new year of life!

  3. Patricia Lombroso November 13, 2020 at 10:09 am #

    Dear Richard,a master now in poetry and brilliant mind.I am leaving for New York relieved.The apartment in Rome is yours whenever you please love patricia >

    • Richard Falk November 13, 2020 at 11:02 pm #

      Thanks, dear Patricia, for your lovely, tender words, a true birthday gift!
      Hopefully, NYC will be okay, stay safe, while doing your best to stay satisfied.
      Not an easy time politically or in life circumstances..

      Hopefully, we are almost done with Trump, but Trumpism seems to linger malignantly!

      With our love,


  4. loeklist November 13, 2020 at 12:24 pm #

    Dear Richard,

    How wonderful that you are still going so strong at 90 and doing whatever anyone could possibly do to Make the World Honest Again.

    Your poem was touching me right through, and then I came to the line saying that you are in Yalikavak. That is where Loekie and I went on one of our very last real vacations, in 2003, where we too breathed clean air and inhaled love.

    With its limited accommodations, you and Hilal have surely eaten at this place more than once:

    We miss you, and hope that we will be brought together again before too long.

    With warmest greetings to you both,


    Van: Global Justice in the 21st Century Verzonden: vrijdag 13 november 2020 13:50 Aan: Onderwerp: [New post] Reaching 90 in 2020

    Richard Falk posted: ” Reaching 90 in 2020 A year darkly memorable Months before the pandemic “

    • Richard Falk November 13, 2020 at 10:57 pm #

      A wonderful birthday gift to receive your message, Gary! We hope that when travel becomes
      again prudent, we can have a too long deferred reunion. You and Loekie are more than welcome to stay with us
      here in Yalikavak where we have our house, which has ample space, and even a basement ping-pong

      Hilal joins in sending our love, and hope you are both staying satisfied while staying safe amide the
      stress. Had Trump been reelected I was ready to join the expatriate community, and considering that Trumpism
      seems alive and well, he received over 72 million votes, the Republican Party is stronger than ever,
      Trump could still disrupt the transition, and Biden’s promise is limited to the home front (he could be more dangerous internationally than Trump).


  5. Mike 71 November 13, 2020 at 1:54 pm #


    Qasem Soleimani was definitely killed by a drone strike, but not for seeking peace. Nor, did all Iranians mourn his passing.

    Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Medgar Evers, Robert F. Kennedy and numerous others were assassinated for seeking peace, but not Qasem Soleimani!

    Your advanced years are definitely affecting your reasoning abilities. Enjoy what years remain to you and enjoy the warm sun in Istanbul!

    • Richard Falk November 13, 2020 at 11:11 pm #

      You might remember, what you know is what you see. This applies to both of us.

      I hope at 90 your reasoning abilities hold up better than mine.

      • Mike 71 November 14, 2020 at 2:37 pm #


        I expect that they will. I have no difficulty whatsoever in distinguishing men of peace, such as Dr. King, Gandhi, Robert F. Kennedy and Medgar Evers from terrorists! I expect that when I reach 90 years of age, I will retain that ability!

    • Ceylan Orhun November 14, 2020 at 9:00 pm #

      Unfairly rude & toxic; plus ignorant : Yalikavak is not in Istanbul.

      • Mike 71 November 15, 2020 at 5:57 am #

        The glorification of terrorists, who seek to murder civilian non-combatants, in violation of the 1949 Geneva Agreements, is “unfairly rude toxic and ignorant!” I would have expected more of Professor Falk, given his purported intelligence. He should have no difficulty distinguishing men of peace, such as Dr. King, from the likes of Soleimani!

  6. Sean Breathnach November 13, 2020 at 2:04 pm #

    Wishing you a happy 90th birthday, Professor Falk and many more of them.

  7. Don E. Scheid November 15, 2020 at 9:14 am #

    Hi Richard,

    Cheers, as always.
    Don E. Scheid

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: